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Netflix Announces Activision Blizzard Exec Spencer Neumann as CFO

It’s official: Netflix announced that Spencer Neumann — previously CFO of games company Activision Blizzard and a former Disney finance exec — is joining the company as chief financial officer.

Netflix didn’t provide a start date for Neumann. He will succeed David Wells, the 14-year veteran of the company who is leaving after serving as CFO since 2010.

Reports of Netflix’s hiring of Neumann hit late Monday, after Activision Blizzard said in a regulatory filing that it was planning to fire Neumann. On Wednesday, Activision Blizzard said Neumann was “terminated for cause for violating his legal obligations to the company,” an indication the company believes he breached his employment agreement.

Neumann’s contract with Activision Blizzard ran through April 30, 2020, and included a standard “covenant not to shop” clause stipulating that with the exception of the final six months of the term of his employment he was barred from negotiating for a job “with any entity or person outside of the Activision Blizzard Group,” per a regulatory filing from Activision.

“Spencer is a stellar entertainment executive and we’re thrilled that he will help us provide amazing stories to people all over the world,” Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement Wednesday. “I also want to again say thank you to David Wells, on behalf of the company and our shareholders, for his invaluable contributions at Netflix over the past 14 years.”

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Neumann commented: “Netflix is a singular brand, and I’m excited and honored for the opportunity to work with the Netflix team and all of our stakeholders to build on the company’s exceptional track record of success and innovation.”

Neumann had joined Activision Blizzard as CFO in May 2017. Previously, he had been CFO and EVP of global guest experience at Disney’s Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division since 2012.

From 2005-12, Neumann worked at private-equity firms Providence Equity Partners and Summit Partners. Before that, he held several other roles with Disney, which he first joined in 1992, including EVP of the ABC Television Network from 2001-04 and CFO of the Walt Disney Internet Group from 1999-2001. Neumann holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from Harvard University.

With Neumann’s exit from Activision Blizzard, the company reinstalled Dennis Durkin as CFO. Durkin, who most recently served as chief corporate officer, previously held the CFO job from March 2012 to May 2017.

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